9 giugno 2015

What vitamins can teach you about translation

Words are like vitamins, more effective in their natural context.

Vitamins naturally in food are not crystalline and never isolated. Vitamins found in any real food are chemically and structurally different from those commonly found in ‘natural vitamin’ formulas and are far superior to their synthetic counterparts.

As vitamins, words, taken within their natural context, are more effective and useful.
“Any time you touch a word, you use it in a new context, you give it a new connotation…You didn't break it. It's just in a new position, and that new position can be just as beautiful”

says Erin Mac Kean in an epic TEDTalk

In other words, context beyond the words immediately surrounding a term, is definitely relevant.

How can you get maximum benefit from using words in their natural context in a translation project? By using concordances. The added value of using concordances is that they are not as “static” the way dictionary definitions are: concordances analyse different use of a single word, word frequency and phrases or idioms in their natural context.

By using concordances, translators can identify terms in the most appropriate context and easily find the best equivalent terms in the target language.